Skip to main content


There can be a variety of reasons for differences in patient attendance rates. Non-attendance, or a significant gap in attendance, can be important indicators of current patient functioning and coping. It can also be a predictor of patient outcomes and reflect barriers to treatment including patient dissatisfaction with the service provided, financial barriers (e.g., unemployment), or practical barriers (e.g., being unable to leave an unwell spouse). Communicating information about any such barriers to the referrer is important as it can help professionals to understand how to best provide services to an individual and whether or not a different level or type of care may be required.  Mental health professionals should have a documented policy that outlines the protocols in their practice for responding to nonattendance such as time frames for follow-up contact with the patient and referrer.

Principle 11: Patient attendance

As part of informing the referrer about patient progress, including in treatment reports, mental health professionals communicate any attendance issues to the referring professional and any action taken to reengage with the patient who stopped attending.


Practice guide: Communication between medical and mental health professionals